The 911 call came in shortly after 7 pm on Saturday, February 2. The person making the call claimed that there were individuals inside of his Pierce Township apartment. He then added that there were guns inside as well.

Pierce Township Police showed up and within an hour the man, 23-year-old Wade Winn had barricaded himself inside the apartment and then opened fire on the responding officers. Shortly after that the Special Response Team (SRT), a multi-agency group in the vein of a SWAT team, arrived at the scene. One of the members of the SRT was Clermont County Sheriff’s Department Detective Bill Brewer.

At about 10:30 pm, Detective Brewer was shot in another hail of gunfire coming from Winn’s apartment. He was rushed to Mercy Hospital where he died from his wounds. A second sheriff’s deputy, Lt. Nick DeRosa, was wounded but his injuries weren’t critical.

This story made national news, yet another example of the life of a first responder being lost in the line of duty. Detective Brewer, who was a 20 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, left behind a wife and a seven-year-old son named Braxton.

“We actually found out that Braxton is really into cars so a car show was obviously the way to go,” said Megan Jilg, one of the organizers of the First Annual Bill Brewer Memorial Car Show.

Megan actually lives on the same street as the Brewer family and her son goes to school with Braxton. “Braxton always wants to play some sort of car game. He’s really into Hot Wheels. He’s got tons of Hot Wheels,” she explained.

The car show was one of many fund raisers for the Brewer and DeRosa families held by various groups throughout Clermont County and surrounding areas.

“We just kind of wanted to bring everybody together. There are so many things going on for the Brewer family but there’s really nothing that serves as a healing event,” said Megan. She added that the event, held March 9 at West Clermont High School, was an event to bring the public together along with the Sheriff’s Department and the Brewer family.

“Wanted to be able to say, ‘we’re here for you’ and to show our support for the family,” added Megan.

Once it was decided to do a car show, the next step was how to do it. Neither Megan nor any of the people helping with the event had ever organized a car show before.

“It started out as a post on the West Clermont Facebook page asking if anyone had thought about doing a bigger fund raiser and from there we got tons of ideas,” said Megan.

Organizing the event was extremely fast. According to Megan it took about a month to a month and a half to put it all together. “We started shortly after the funeral. And it actually may have been a couple of days before the funeral that we started putting everything together,” she explained.

Calling it a team effort, Megan added that one of the first things that occurred was the formation of a group to put all of the pieces together. “We have a total of 10 people on what we call a board,” she said. “They are all people who came together for the family.”

Despite a weather forecast that threatened rain and some temperatures that were well below normal, a massive crowd turned out for the event. Not only was the designated parking lot filled with cars being shown, but another lot was filled with cars of people who came to enjoy the event.

Initially the organizers planned to cut off registration at 350 cars. “We actually had 316 who pre-registered,” said Megan. While final numbers were difficult to tally because many cars came and went, it is estimated that there were well over 450 cars showing despite the weather.

“All of the proceeds from the event are going to Bill’s family and some of them will be going to Nick DeRosa’s family as well,” explained Megan. DeRosa, a 22 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was wounded in the shooting.

With an overall goal of raising $10,000, pre-registration alone brought them nearly half way there. In addition to registration, funds were also raised in a number of different ways. There were raffles and a split-the-pot as well as booth and space rentals for numerous vendors and food trucks and restaurants. The show organizers were even printing up tee shirts on site.

Despite the cold, damp weather, people appeared to be having a good time. It wasn’t just cars that were on display for people to enjoy.

“We have the 501st Star Wars group,” said Megan the day of the show. “They’re all volunteers and they donated their time. We also have Who Dey and some BenGals cheerleaders. We have Mr. Red and we’re expecting Gapper here shortly.”

The success of the show quickly prompted the organizers to consider making this an annual event.

“So this will be an event that we do on a yearly basis. We’ve talked to the family and we’ve talked to the Sheriff’s Department and they want to go ahead and do it on a yearly basis,” said Megan. She added that next year they will hold it later in the year when the weather is warmer.

Despite this being a hastily put together event, the turnout from the car community and from those who just wanted to support the family of the fallen officer was testament to a community responding to a tragedy. Leading up to the show there were posts to on-line car related and car group sites and pages asking who all was going to show up. There were always plenty of follow-up posts.

To keep up with what is happening with this event, be sure to check out their Facebook page and make plans to attend the 2020 edition of the Bill Brewer Memorial Car Show.

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